Diamondbacks-Red Sox preview
BOSTON -- An oblique injury may have cost Zack Greinke his chance of winning a second Cy Young Award in the first year of a six-year, $206.5 million contract.
While he was gone, fellow right-hander Rick Porcello, in the first year of his five-year, $82.5 million extension, burst onto the American League Cy Young picture with 15 wins and victories in nine of his last 10 decisions.
On Sunday, the right-handers match up at Fenway Park when Greinke's Arizona Diamondbacks finish their three-game interleague series with Porcello's Boston Red Sox, who are going for a sweep.
Greinke, who was placed on the disabled list June 24, returned Tuesday and rescued the beleaguered Diamondbacks' pitching staff with six strong innings against the Mets in New York for his ninth consecutive victory.
"It just gets guys invigorated," manager Chip Hale said that night in New York. "They know he's out there and is going to give us a quality start pretty much every time he goes out there. Guys are excited to play behind him."
The win raised Greinke's record to 11-3 -- 30-6 over the last two seasons.
Meanwhile, Porcello defeated the New York Yankees the same night to go to 15-3, including 11-0 in 12 starts at Fenway. He tries to become the first Red Sox pitcher to begin a season 12-0 at home since Dave Ferriss started 1946 at 13-0.
He has a 3.40 ERA overall, but a 2.90 over his last 10 starts (eight wins). He is aiming to become Boston's first 20-game winner since Josh Beckett in 2007 and has plenty of starts left to get there.
Last month, Porcello, when asked if he might be crawling into the Cy Young picture, said: "I have no idea and honestly, I don't care. If we win the division, if we win the World Series, that's all that I care about. I'm sorry to shoot that question down, but that's not on the forefront of my mind."
Greinke was upbeat after his return start.
"It felt good, the oblique is healthy, just building up arm strength and pitch count," Greinke told MLB.com. "Got into the low 90s today and felt pretty good. Still was making pretty good pitches that last inning."
Greinke has a 2.47 ERA and has allowed only 49 hits in 65 2/3 innings in his last 10 starts -- walking 10 and striking out 53.
He is 2-4 with a 2.83 ERa against the Red Sox lifetime, but current Red Sox David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are 2-for-13 and 2-for 12 against him, respectively. He is 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA in two games (one start) at Fenway.
Greinke is 20-11 with a 3.65 ERA in 45 interleague games (39 starts).
Porcello is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks in 2010 and 2014 with the Detroit Tigers.
He is 15-8, 4.11 in 31 interleague games (29 starts).